Dag van de Wol

You might think that every day is a “Day of Wool” chez Underdutchskies, but today was the official “Dag van de Wol” in Oijen, Brabant.  DB even came along for the ride.

I had never been to this event before so I didn’t know what to expect.  I was hoping for lots of spinning wheels to try out, sheep shearing, lots of different kinds of wool from many sheep breeds.  But I was also realistically thinking that it could be much less than this.  It turned out to be less, but still worth a day out.

Here’s what it looked like.

There was a display of lots of spun fibers from lots of different animals, from sheep breeds to yak and even brown bears, to different dog breeds.

And a few animals who were very shy.

But there was no sheep shearing and the only booth selling spinning wheels was LowLandsLegacy, and they only brought Kromski wheels with them.  I did get to try out a Kromski Minstrel wheel which was lovely to spin on.  So smooth and silent and I took to it immediately.  It was like we were old friends. I guess this wheel has jumped to the top of my wish list!

I did of course buy some fiber to spin.  Here’s what I bought, but not all of it is for me.  I bought 2 of the little buckets of sheep breed samples for W. who has loaned me her spinning wheel.  The rest is mine.

The sample buckets, A and B, are filled with 20g bundles of different sheep breed wool to try out and see what you like.  I already had B at home so bought A for myself. Here’s what you get.  These are from LowLandsLegacy.

The big blob of wool, all 500g of it, is Merino, but look how lovely it is! Not just plain white Merino, but this lovely mixed grey and white super soft fluff.  Maybe if I get really good at this I can spin enough for a sweater.  We’ll see.  But it’s a lot to practice on anyway.

And then I did get 200g of super white Merino.  Both the above grey and this white I bought from Meervilt who happen to be located in Haarlem! Oooo dangerous.

Actually, the first thing I bought, was this gorgeous combed top of Merino and silk blend, from Q-art.  The second I saw the lighter ball, I had to have it.  She only had 1 of this color, so I bought a second one in a kind of darker sister color.  I’m sure they will look great together if I want to end up using them together.  I haven’t spun with silk yet, and I think it’s going to be more challenging than the merino and blue faced leicester I’ve spun so far.  It’s going to be fun to try out!

Lastly, I bought this 50g group of rollags, in the first photo at the top of the post.  I can’t remember the name of the shop I got them from. These are to practice long draw drafting.  The videos I’ve seen of people doing this, well, they make it look so easy.  I don’t think it’s easy.  But I want to try.

Oh and I also bought a jar of hand cream and anti-moth spray.  And that was it.  I really wanted to buy some Texelse wool to spin, but no one had any.  Not a one.  That was a surprise.

We got there early and as we were leaving at noon, there were a lot of people still arriving, so I guess we missed the crowds.  Also fine!  We drove to Oss and had lunch there and then came home.

And now I need to show you what else I recently bought to spin and just got in the mail from Fondant Fibre in England.  All of these items were on sale in her web shop and after paying shipping from England (which is very reasonable compared to postage prices in NL), it was all a bargain.

I got this cute dark pink and white merino/nylon blend, which I’ve already started spinning.  I am hoping to make some nice 3ply (my first 3ply) from it.

I also bought this batt of Shetland wool, white yak, and silk blend. Wow!

She also had some sock yarn on sale and how could I pass up a skein of sock yarn in a nice color way for £7?

AND she threw in a little sample of some special fiber to try out. This is blend of Norwegian wool and bamboo she calls Norboo.  Hmmm. Interesting.  I really recommend her web shop for some lovely fibers to spin up. Great service too.

And now it’s time to stop writing and start spinning! I can’t wait to get my hands into all this fluffy stuff!  More photos to come as I make my way through it.

Finland!

I’ve wanted to go to Finland for a long time.  It’s that lure of forests and snow and northern lights that gets to me every winter.  I haven’t managed to convince DB yet to leave our warm home for even colder climates in the dark days of December.

But I have booked my trip to Finland for a different but equally really good reason.  Knitting!

I’m going to the Nordic Knitting Symposium in Vörå, Finland, from 29 June – 5 July. The program looks amazing and now that I have my schedule, and everything is booked, I’m getting very excited about going.

Vörå is not the easiest place to get to from outside of Scandinavia.  I’m flying from Amsterdam to Helsinki, staying the night, then the next day flying from Helsinki to Vaasa.  We meet up there and go by bus to Vörå.  Here’s where it is:

Vörå

 

Every day of the conference is jam packed with workshops, lectures and museum visits. On the last day there’s a craft market to visit.  The organizers have arranged for lodging, meals, transportation and everything you will need in a strange far away out in the woods place.  The price for the week is not at all expensive when you consider all that you get in the package.  The only expensive part is getting there and back!

When I saw the schedule I got so excited I signed up right away without waiting to see if anyone else I know would be going.  So far, I’m the lone traveler from NL, at least that I know of.  It will be strange to be there for a week, not knowing anyone.  But, knowing knitters, I’ll have made many friends by the time I come home.

If you are interested in visiting Finland, and enjoy a week of knitting and fiber related tourism, check out the site.  It’s not sold out yet!

 

Breidag 2014

This year the Breidag (Knitting Day) was held in Amersfoort, at the Rijtuigenloods just a short 5 minute walk from the train station.  This is an old factory that has been turned into a kind of museum and event center.  As you can see from the photo, there are old railroad cars inside the building which are used for specific things like toilet area or meeting areas.

This photo shows about a third of the marketplace area, so there was a lot to choose from if you wanted to shop for yarns and knitting and crochet related things.

I went on Saturday and in the middle of the day it was busy, but not so busy that you couldn’t move around.  I saw a lot of people I knew, which was really great.  Some people I don’t see very often so it was nice to catch up with them.

One friend, who I met last year in Estonia, has written a book! Good for her! It’s called Öland Breien and has lots of beautiful color work patterns inspired by Scandinavian designs and also stories and photos of the Öland area. Way to go Marja! The book can be bought from her yarn shop web site here.

I took a class in the morning, which was very disappointing, and will be a topic of another blog post to come so I won’t talk about it now.  Let’s focus on the positive…

I have so much yarn already, and frankly there wasn’t anything new here that I hadn’t seen before, so I only bought 2 skeins of yarn.  And I only bought it at the last minute just before walking out the door to come home.  I know exactly what I want to make with it and I don’t already have anything suitable in my stash, so it was a purchase that I could easily justify.

This is Fiberspates Scrumptious, lace weight yarn, 50% wool and 50% silk. The color is called Midnight and it is as you see, a dark gorgeous blue.  I specifically wanted this fiber combination of half wool half silk.  The first lace shawl I ever made was this fiber combo and it’s still my favorite.  I want to make this shawl:

photo & shawl by Susan Pandorf

The pattern is called Evenstar.  A friend of mine has made it and it’s even more beautiful, if you can imagine, in person.  Don’t ask me when I will start it – I already have to finish a big lace project that has been languishing on my needles!

I went to the Breidag with my friend Jacki, and we traveled back home with the addition of Petra.  It was a fun day out, but the disappointing (and expensive) morning class has left an overall disappointing feeling about the day.  I’m planning to go to a knitting event in July in Finland and I really hope that the classes I’ve signed up for will be worthwhile.  I’ll certainly let you know!

Road Trip

Next Saturday I’m making the long train trip to this event.  I’m very tempted to go by car, because I have a new car, but N. has convinced me that we should go by train so we can knit.  Knitting trumps driving a new car.

I’m not sure if there will be a lot of knitters that I know going to this event.  It’s pretty far away.  It’s going to take us 3 hours by train to get there (only a little over 2 hours by car however).  Dutch people think that traveling an hour to go somewhere is already a big deal.

The event is held in a “manege” or horse arena.  It will be cold.  It will be full of people and wool so I hope that we heat the place up with our enthusiasm and woolliness.  I’m hoping to find some really nice local yarn (which is a new thing actually) and some interesting sheep breed specific yarns.

If you live in the Netherlands, or northern Germany, or even northern England, make a fun day trip out of this and come along.  It’s good to support our local wool!

Handwerkbeurs Zwolle

Yesterday I and 4 of the “usual suspects” went to the Handwerkbeurs in Zwolle.  If you haven’t been there, it’s the twice a year marketplace with everything from quilting supplies, to beads, to felting, to embroidery and knitting.  Every year there are more and more yarn shops, which is great for knitters.

Of course I need more yarn like I need a hole in my head, but I always like to go and see what’s new and to hang with my peeps.  The train ride there and back (70 minutes  more or less from Amsterdam) is perfect knitting and chatting time.

Above is a photo of what I got yesterday, except for the buttons which I forgot to photograph.  From left to right:

4 skeins (25g each) of 100% cashmere, “Adam”, from Bart and Francis.  It was expensive, but I’ve never owned anything 100% cashmere and I just couldn’t resist.  I’m hoping it’s enough for a large scarf/small stole.  I’ve already been looking through my Estonian Lace books to find a nice stitch pattern to use. (I can’t find this yarn on their web site – maybe it’s coming soon.)

Next is 50g of lace yarn in 80% merino, 20% silk, hand dyed by Loret Karman.  Isn’t it lovely?

Finally, JORIS! I’ve been stalking this pattern on Ravelry for a while now.  When I saw a shop with a few of these little guys in different colors and sizes, I just had to buy the pattern on the spot and some yarn to make him with.  The yarn is Schoppel-Wol, fingering weight. He will be kind of small using this yarn, so I might make him with a double strand and chopping up the skein into its component colors.  The designer, Annita Wilschut, has lots of other critter patterns like sock monkeys and frogs.  Her site is in Dutch, and the pattern I bought yesterday is in Dutch, but if you look her up on Ravelry she also has pattern downloads available in English.  They are just adorable!

I bought a few buttons from Lüna Design, a German man who despite speaking only German, managed to babble on and make himself understood well enough to sell loads of beautiful buttons.

N. and I also spent some time admiring the beads from Khyber Gallery.  What an amazing selection of beads made of all kinds of materials from the near and far east.  Beautiful amazing things.  Unfortunately I was completely out of money by the time I saw them, which was probably a good thing.  I won’t be surprised if we make a road trip to Wageningen to visit the shop, where Ans says she has far more stock than at the beurs or what she has online.

All in all it was a really fun day and I’m really glad we went.  I didn’t get home til 7pm, tired and hungry.  DB had a fire going in the fireplace and food ready to eat.  I couldn’t ask for more!